Gluten-Free is a term which always appears to be in the news at the moment whereas the term was hardly ever heard let alone understood.
Fortunately for sufferers of a variety of ailments that cause sufferers to avoid Gluten in their meals, there are far more Gluten-Free produce available than ever before.
After hearing about the term Gluten-Free recently I must confess I had not heard the term mentioned before and that must have been around seven or eight years ago. It turned out that a friend of ours was suffering for years with problems surrounding her stomach, this meant she had to be extremely careful with the type of food she ate.
It eventually became known that she had some form of allergy to do with almost anything dairy and wheat food meaning that she had to avoid any food containing gluten. The official description of a Gluten-free diet is as follows;
Can you imagine that?
As I had not really heard of this term Gluten Free before I thought I would explore it a little further. It appears that more people are suffering from this type of problem plus other issues affecting their stomach and digestive tract and are having to look very carefully at their diet, some have gone on to a totally gluten-free diet and in some cases, the whole family have changed their diets. I agree it would be more convenient if everyone in the household ate the same food, it would certainly make the weekly shop easier.
I first came across the term gluten-free because a friend of ours had to go on to this form of diet because she was suffering from Celiac Disease, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy which is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the intestines when foods containing gluten are eaten. Gluten is a form of protein found in some grains. The damage to the intestine makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, especially fat, calcium, iron, and folate.
We seem to be hearing about this sort of problem more often now, its all over the internet about going gluten-free! It even goes as far as making statements that it is the best thing that any of us can do. But is it?
But if it is then why isn’t the government and the big corporations doing anything about it?
It has been suggested that a possible cause has to do with all the modern changes that have been made to our wheat to increase the production, the growth or its resistency to disease etc,
Eliminating gluten means eliminating any and all products containing rye, barley, or wheat. This usually includes breads, cereals, crackers, cookies,
and other bakery treats and drinks. But many people are now turning to gluten-free diets so there are a constantly growing variety of alternative meals available.
It’s actually much easier to transition the whole family than it would be to try to just have one or two people in the household give up gluten. When everyone’s on the same diet it is so much easier to shop and then to carefully plan your meals.
Such a diet will eliminate a lot of the processed foods from the mealtime that aren’t good for you. Also foods that tend to be high in gluten are also usually high in sugar, fat, and artificial colors and preservatives. So when you eliminate gluten from your diet you eliminate these types of foods as well. But the big thing is that there is still plenty of variety for you and your family to be able to get a healthier balanced diet from.
Instead of these processed foods, you’ll be able to do more cooking using fresh fruits and vegetables. You can find gluten-free breads and other treats available to substitute for the wheat varieties allowing you to continue to enjoy sandwiches, toast, cakes and cookies.
You’ll also need to look out for gluten in places you might not expect it to be found. There are many more gluten-free products such as salad dressings, condiments, and even in some lunch meats, making it much easier to make the transition for the whole family, you just need to check the labels.
If you do have an allergy to gluten, it’s important to completely eliminate it, you don’t want any trace of it to get into your system again and return to the problems of the past and wreak havoc on your health. But if you don’t have an allergy, you can still make the change to support another family member to keep them company because you will probably appreciate the health benefits that go with it.
You can even start by changing just one or two products at a time and replacing it with a gluten-free version. But you should be aware that even if your home is totally gluten-free, other homes aren’t and neither are restaurants, so if your child attends birthday parties or other events there may not be gluten-free options available so you may have to provide an alternative if necessary or at least forewarn the hosting parents. On the other hand unless it is very important for your child to remain totally gluten-free you could make allowances for the occasional gluten ingredients to be consumed especially if it is a special celebration.